Monday, July 17, 2006
Thinking of Mom
Gardening to me is always a time to get lost in my thoughts and just see where my thoughts take me. Tonight my thoughts were of my mother. My mother was a truly incredible woman - she is my hero - if I can be half of the woman that she was, then I will have lived a good life. My mom's name was Muriel Dutcher (how cool would it be to have someone post here and say they knew my mom or she was their teacher?). She died in 1990, the day after her 73rd birthday, but she was lost to those of us who loved her years before. My Mom always wanted to be a teacher, but her father wouldn't let her go to college - college was for boys, so she worked in her father's business until she met and married my dad in 1940. And then she started having babies. My sister, the oldest was born in 1941 and my youngest brother was the last born in 1960. Mom stayed at home and raised us kids until I entered second grade and my little brother started Kindergarten then she went back to college to earn her teaching license. She went to a two year teaching college and was probably the oldest student there. The year she graduated, Wisconsin changed the requirements for a teaching license and made it mandatory to have a 4 year degree. She took a job as a substitute and as an aide and went to school nights and worked hard to get her 4 year degree. She graduated from college just a few months before I finished highschool and the school district gave her a job teaching. At this point, Mom had been having health problems for years - she had been to several doctors to find out what was wrong. It was becoming increasingly obvious that something was not right. Two years later, we got our answers - she had early onset Alzheimer's Disease. No one had heard of Alzheimer's in the late 70's. It was heart breaking to watch her slip away from us. At the age of 64, she was too much work for Dad alone (I helped as much as I could, but I was married and in college full-time) and we had to put her in a nursing home. It's not fair that someone as determined as my mom to fufill a life dream should be robbed of the enjoyment that comes after achieving that dream. It's not fair that my child will never know his wonderful grandmother. It's not fair that I look so much like her that I see her every time I look in the mirror and miss her so much more. But it is good that when I am at peace in my garden I can connect with her and remember wonderful things about her. Like how she would always yell at me if I peeled a cucumber the wrong way - you always peel from the blossom end to the stem end - the stem end is bitter and if you peel it the wrong way, you will make the whole cucumber bitter - now I realize that is probably an old wive's tail, but mom drilled it into me so much that I cannot peel a cucumber any other way and I will probably pass the same quirk onto my child. Mom, if you read blogs in heaven - just know that you are always in my heart and I love you.